Sumac in Middle Eastern cooking

Sumac

Sumac (pronounced SOO-mak) is the fruit of a shrub (Rhus coriaria) that grows throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean. These berries vary in colour from brick red to dark purple, depending on where the shrub is grown.

Berries are harvested just before they ripen, then left in the sun to dry. While whole dried berries are available in the growing regions, in Australia sumac is usually sold as a coarse or fine powder.

Prior to the introduction of lemons, the Romans used sumac as a souring agent. It has a pleasant tangy taste with a hint of citrus fruitiness and virtually no aroma.

Buying
Available in the spice section of most supermarkets.

Cooking
An essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, sumac is used in spice rubs, marinades and dressings, and is also served as a condiment. Along with sesame seeds and dried thyme, it’s one of the main ingredients in the spice mix za’atar, which is used to flavour meat and vegetables, or mixed with oil to make a paste that’s spread on bread before baking.

Sumac goes well with chicken, fish and seafood, lamb, eggplant, chickpeas and lentils. For a delicious marinade or dressing, mix it with yoghurt and other herbs and spices such as chilli, coriander, cumin, paprika and parsley.

Storing
Sumac will keep in an airtight container for several months.

http://www.taste.com.au/how+to/articles/52/sumac

One Response to “Sumac in Middle Eastern cooking”

  1. I have learned about summac with Middle Eastern cooking. It sort of shocked me when I first saw it in a recipe, as the only summac I was familiar with was poision summac!

    It is now an essential in my spice drawer.

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